My sister and I alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with our parents and this was her year for the regal turkey dinner. My parents surprised us by driving almost four hours to Atlanta, instead of my sister’s family travelling to our childhood home. Given my mother’s recent broken back, it was doubly surprising. Happily, Mom and spine arrived intact.
That left my husband and I with a decision to make…do we brave the crazy holiday traffic and drive six hours to see my family for the day, or did we go it alone? Like, really alone. No friends, no children, no family; just us empty nesters. In the end, facing the traffic was worse than not having a houseful or planning an elaborate menu…
Our wonderful neighbors offered to fry a turkey for us and because of the past crowds for dinner, we hadn’t taken them up on the invitation – until now. If you aren’t familiar with this culinary treat, don’t worry – you are not alone! It’s a relatively new phenomenon, about 10-15 years old, and the benefits are that the extreme heat of the oil seals in the turkey’s natural juices. Plus, a 12-14 lb. turkey cooks in 40 minutes—what’s not to like?
So it was a peaceful few days leading up to Thanksgiving as I like to make the casseroles and sweets ahead of time. There was no menu to mull over, just family favorites; no sleeping arrangements and travel plans; no timelines to meet based on eating habits… Thanksgiving morning was stress free since I didn’t have to time baking everything in one oven to coincide with the turkey. It was wonderful to savor breakfast while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and set the table at my leisure. My neighbor even hand-delivered the gorgeous bird, so could the day have gotten any easier?
As Larry and I sat together to give thanks for the incredible gifts, love and joys in our life, it was actually the absence of family that allowed me to enjoy and appreciate them even more so. This blessing of solitude centered our souls, freed us from “busy-ness” and allowed the true spirit of Thanksgiving to reign.